Horsemeat DNA test results according to the FSA
Published:  15 February, 2013

Results of horsemeat DNA testing on beef products sold in UK supermarkets and the foodservice, have been revealed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

In a statement the FSA said that, as of 10am today (15 February), it received 2,501 test results. Out of the tests carried out, 2,472 (around 99%) were negative for horsemeat at or above levels of 1%.

However, 29 samples tested positive for horsemeat at levels of 1% or above and 950 tests are still in progress.

The 29 positive results, the FSA said, related to the seven products that had already been reported and, where appropriate, action had been taken.

Testing was carried out on both raw ingredients and final manufactured products and were done following a statement made by FSA chief executive Catherine Brown earlier in the month.

Where products tested positive for horse DNA, they had been tested again for the presence of the veterinary drug phenylbutazone (bute) - all of those tests were negative, the FSA said.

Of the results, Brown said: “Since this incident began on 16 January, businesses have been carrying out a large number of tests. We said that industry should share those results with us, and the public, and we asked for the first results to be with us today. The results so far date from when businesses began their testing four weeks ago. They include results that were received by companies up to around 10am this morning.

“It’s encouraging that we have received so many results from the industry so quickly, which reaffirms their commitment to working with us to address the serious issue of consumer confidence in the UK food supply.

“More importantly for consumers, it reveals that in the vast majority of cases the results so far are showing that no horse DNA is present in the foods tested. But this is still far from the full picture and we expect industry to continue to supply us with regular updates on their testing regime.

“We’ve asked industry to test for horse DNA down to a level of 1%. There are two reasons for this. First, that’s a pragmatic level above which we think any contamination would be due to either gross incompetence or deliberate fraud; it’s not going to be accidental. Second, some laboratories can only test accurately down to a level of 1%.

“But that does not mean that we’re not concerned with, or that we accept, levels below 1%. In terms of faith groups, there remains a significant issue about trace levels of other species below 1%. So we have a separate programme of work under way with Defra to look at the issues around that, too.

“Further results are expected over the coming weeks and the FSA will publish another update this time next week.”

An FSA spokeswoman told MeatInfo.co.uk that they don't have information on results of horse DNA below levels of 1% in the beef products tested. She said that was because they were testing for deliberate gross-negligence and added: "But we do hope to do the lesser."